“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”: An Introduction to Adaptive Optics

10/26/01


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Table of Contents

“Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”: An Introduction to Adaptive Optics

Turbulence in the atmosphere limits the performance of astronomical telescopes

Images of a bright star, Arcturus

Turbulence changes rapidly with time

Measure details of blurring from “guide star” near the object you want to observe

Basic idea of AO

Adaptive optics in action

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Deformable mirrors come in many shapes and sizes

Adaptive optics system is usually behind main telescope mirror

What does a “real” adaptive optics system look like?

If there is no nearby star, make your own “star” using a laser

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AO at the Keck 10 m Telescope

Adaptive optics on 10-m Keck II Telescope: Factor of 10 increase in spatial resolution

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Neptune in Infrared Light

Neptune: Ground-based AO vs. Voyager Spacecraft

Saturn’s moon Titan: Shrouded by haze as seen by Hubble Space Telescope

Titan at Keck: with and without adaptive optics

Uranus as seen by Hubble Space Telescope and Keck AO

Keck AO Can See the Faintest Rings Discovered by Voyager

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Other Uses for AO

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Adaptive optics provides highest resolution images of living human retina

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Retinal Imaging – Basic Science

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Primary Mirrors: CELT vs. Keck

CELT and Stonehenge

CELT in PacBell Park

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Author: Sandra Faber

Email: faber@ucolick.org

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